Category Archives: manuscript

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


My week has a mixture of events including a meeting with my client regarding my ghost writing project, the Volunteer Fair on Wednesday and Authors for Indies on Saturday.

Monday evening will be spent reviewing the book draft I have been working on for my client. We will utilize our local library for this meeting. It is such a wonderful space for working, reading and meetings.

Strathcona-1

Wednesday I will be doing double duty at the Volunteer Fair as secretary of my writers group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County and as President of the Arts & Culture Council of Strathcona County. I was able to request the tables were side by side so that will help!

volunteer fair 2017

Writers Foundation Strathcona County

small logo

On Saturday I will join other local authors for Indies for Authors at the Sherwood Park Bookworm, a wonderful store full of all genres of books and a book readers dream place. I will be reading from 1-2 pm come down and hear wonderful stories, meet the authors and find your next favorite book.

AFI 20171177070-01

What events do you have planned? Care to share?

Other events:

blue met

The Blue Metropolis Festival in Montreal, QC, runs April 24–30 with programming for readers of all ages. http://bluemetropolis.org/

ottawa

The Ottawa International Writers Festival takes place April April 27 to May 2, with details still to come. http://www.writersfestival.org/authors/spring-2017

Do you have a local event to share? Put it in the comments.

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

This week is Board meeting week – my first meeting is tomorrow for the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County – we will be planning our annual conference, which will be held on 22nd April as well as numerous other agenda items. On Wednesday it is the Arts & Culture Council meeting, where once again planning will be in full swing for our AGM on 12th April and our heritage day event in June. So all in all a busy time for the next few months.

I find that involvement in these boards can be time consuming at times but it brings so many benefits. To be involved with these art organizations gives me the chance to meet new people, experience new art forms and have fun planning events!

offthepage-header

I did manage to attend the open mic event last Wednesday evening and read to a full house! I did worry I would begin coughing but manage to read all of my excerpt from The Twesome Loop without coughing once, although my mouth was arid. There were so many wonderful people to connect with and the readings were excellent. One woman read for the very first time in public while others were old hands. We heard poetry, rants, manuscript excerpts and one young poet (14 years old) read an exceptional piece called Beautiful for Women’s Day. She was amazing.

Do you have any writing or reading events this week? Care to share?

Other events:

wordsthaw

In Victoria, BC, WordsThaw returns to warm the University of Victoria from March 16–20.

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

My current flu has made concentration rather difficult so my creativity has suffered this past week.I think it is struggling against a ‘fuzzy’ head that has made creation arduous.

What illness / situation has made your creativity stall?

However, I was able to begin beta-reading two manuscripts for author friends, one is a thriller and the other a memoir. Both are intriguing in their own way. I am reading each one at separate times of the day so that I am ‘clear’ of one story line before reading the next one. I have shared a list of tips on beta-reading for those of you interested.

Books:

I continue to enjoy Beyond the Precipice by Eva Blaskovic. The writing is creative and the interwoven music elements make the story unique.With my other reading projects it is nice to let the story embrace me and lead me forward.

beyond-the-precipice

Do you tend to read one book at a time or many?

Do you lean towards fiction or factual?

I still have this novella on my pile too:

the-outcasts

https://www.amazon.com/Outcasts-Maddison-Lily-Fox-Andrews/dp/1908128720

Writing Tip:

beta

If you are unsure of how to beta-read try these steps – I found them at http://jamigold.com/2014/08/introducing-the-beta-reading-worksheet/

Opening Scene:

Does the story begin with an interesting hook, creating a desire to read more?
Does the manuscript begin in the right place?

Characterization & Motivation:

Are the characters compelling, sympathetic, or someone you can root for?
Do the characters feel real and three-dimensional, with distinct voices, flaws, and virtues?
Are their goals clear and proactive enough to influence the plot (not passive)?
Do their motivations seem believable, with well-drawn and appropriate emotion?
Are the secondary characters well-rounded and enhance the story rather than overwhelming the story or seeming like they should be cut?
Are the relationships between the characters believable and not contrived?

Plot & Conflict:

Are the internal and external conflicts well defined for each main character?
Are the internal and external conflicts organic and believable, i.e. arising out of characterization and circumstance rather than feeling contrived or forced?
Are there enough stakes and/or tension throughout to make it a “page turner”?
Does the premise avoid cliché and/or bring a fresh perspective to an old idea?
Are the plot twists believable yet unexpected?
Do the characters act or react to events in a plausible, realistic, or believable way?

Pacing:
Do scenes progress in a realistic, compelling manner and flow with effective transitions?
Does every scene add to and seem important to the story?
Does the story move along at an appropriate pace, without rushing or dragging?
Is there a hook at the end of each chapter or scene that makes you want to read more?
Is the story free from information dumps or backstory that slow the pace of the story?

Setting & Worldbuilding:
Are descriptions vivid and give a clear sense of time and place?
Do the details enhance rather than distract from the story?

Dialogue:
Is the dialogue natural and appropriate for the story, not stilted or overly narrative?
Does dialogue move the story forward and reveal the characters?
Are characters’ voices consistent and distinct from one another?
Is there an appropriate mix of dialogue and narrative?

Craft:
Does the writing “show” the scene with the senses, using “telling” only as appropriate?
Does the writing quality allow the story to shine through and draw the reader in, or are flaws jarring or intrusive?
Is the tone appropriate and consistent for the story?
Is the point of view (and any changes) handled appropriately and consistently?

Overall Impression:
Is the voice unique, fresh, or interesting?
Does the story deliver on the promise of its premise and opening scenes?
From a reader’s point of view, did you enjoy reading this story?

Additional Questions for Comment:
Are there any confusing sections that should be made clearer? (Mark in the manuscript)
Do any sections take you out of the story? (Mark in the manuscript)
Is the story a good fit for the stated genre, and if not, why not?
Who are your favorite—and least favorite—characters and why?
What aspects are especially likable or unlikable about the protagonist(s)?
What three things worked best for you?
What three things worked least for you?

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

There are no writing events on my calendar for this week sadly, so it will be plunging into freelance work and beta-reading instead.The ghost writing project is developing nicely and I also have a thriller manuscript and a memoir to read. Both authors are friends and members of my writing circle, it is an honor to assist them.

Unfortunately, I did not make the reading on Saturday night -On the Keemooch – as I developed a nasty flu just days prior making talking almost impossible let alone reading an erotic segment from my novel, The Twesome Loop. I am so disappointed as I had reworked the piece quite a lot.

What writing/reading plans do you have this week?

writing

WGA Book Club Discussion + Wine/Beer Literary Pairings
With Samantha Warwick in acknowledgement of Freedom to Read Week
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
7:00 – 9:00 pm
Shelf Life Books, 1302 – 4th Street SW
Calgary, AB

 

Mission Writers and Readers Festival

http://www.lifetimelearningcentre.org/events-by-type/writers-and-readers-festival/10th-annual-mission-writers-readers-festival/

Date: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM to 4:00 p.m.
Location: UFV Mission Campus, Heritage Park Centre
33700 Prentis Avenue, Mission BC V2V 7B1

Add your local writing or reading events below.

 

 

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

LifeinSlakePatch 001

As I told you all earlier, I submitted part of my speculative fiction novel, Life in Slake Patch to our current Writer in Residence – Richard van Camp. He answered with:

I’ve had a read of your intro and it seems to me that you find your rhythm in Chapter 4. I found the first three chapters to go so quickly, too quickly, that I couldn’t get a lock on any of the characters or their back stories.  Perhaps a rewrite of your intro?  My advice is slow down; take your time. Have fun with each scene. Sights, smells, etc. Give us setting; give us tone; set the mood.

Now for new or seasoned writers, critique is a double edged sword, some is favorable, some not but all should be taken as constructive rather than destructive. Several rewrites previously I took another writer in residence advice and ‘info dumped’ at the beginning of this story to ‘set the scene’.

So do I change it or not? Do I follow my gut and revise to balance the slightly conflicting advice from these two marvelous authors? Or do I rewrite a completely different introduction? This is something I will ponder and decide after careful consideration.

Have you experienced conflicting critique?

How did you resolve the matter? Did you change it or not?

Books: My review of The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North

hope

The story was a neat concept but fell short, unlike Claire’s previous two books. The character was complex, the story arc well constructed but the use of numerous synonyms of words detracted from the flow of the story – taking me out of the narrative. I understand as a fellow author that these descriptions were an explanation of the main character’s inner most thoughts but they were too much of a distraction for me.

However, it will in no way put me off reading another of Claire’s books – her ability to engage a reader is wonderful in The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August & Touch.

I have just started reading – I Can See You by Joss Landry.

I was engaged from the first page!

i-can-see-you

Writing Tip: Chuck Sambuchino

Remember the Three “P’s”:  Patience, Perseverance, and maintaining your sense of Purpose.

Do you have a writing tip to share?

What book can you recommend?

My Interview at Joseph D Drumheller – The Five Steps to Create a Children’s’ Book…


Link here: https://josephdrumheller.wordpress.com/2016/08/22/five-steps-to-create-a-childrens-book/

The Five Steps to Create a Children’s’ Book  

Rumble's First Scare

  1. The Idea

This may seem like the easiest part of creating a children’s book – right? Not as easy as first appears as it turns out. Your idea has to convert onto the page in a language that your target audience can understand word usage is vital so take note.

  1. What age group are you writing for?
  2. Will you target pre-schoolers or an older age group?
  3. Will the story contain a moral or lesson?

My children’s picture book, Rumble’s First Scare began life as a prompt for Halloween. I did not want to write the usual monster narrative but something more unusual and fun. So I wrote the story from the young monster’s point of view. Younger children love Rumble and monsters are not so scary.

  1. Finding a Publisher

There are numerous avenues to research when it comes to finding a publisher.

  1. You can follow children’s book agents.
  2. Submit your story to contests with a book contract attached.
  3. Attend conferences and find an interested agent/publisher.
  4. Research local or regional publishing houses and submit your story.

I was fortunate to find a publisher locally and this made my publishing experience a more personally tailored one. Dream Write Publishing did an amazing job and I was part of the process all the way through.

  1. Illustrations

The amount of illustrations is dependent on the age of your target group, the younger the age group the more pictures are required and less text.

  1. If you are a talented artist you can illustrate yourself.
  2. Do you know an artist that will collaborate with you on the project?
  3. Does your publisher offer this service?
  4. There are many artists on social media you can approach.

My Rumble character was the culmination of my imagination and crude drawings and a wonderful artist friend, Matthew McClatchie, who made my idea of what Rumble would look like into reality.

  1. Text

Again the amount of text needs to be balanced for the target age group. For example, if the books are for very young children the text needs to be simple and sparse with great pictures, but for independent readers, illustrations can be on the chapter headers only.

  1. Do you want the story in rhyme form?
  2. Choose simple pronounceable names for your characters.
  3. Wrap the text around the pictures or along the bottom of the page.
  4. Keep exposition to a minimum
  1. Extra Pages
  2. The publisher will require your author bio and a photo
  3. You will create a ‘blurb’ – a brief description of the story – for the back of the book.
  4. If you wish you can have a dedication page.
  5. The publisher will allocate an ISBN and the legal disclaimers and permissions for duplication.

Sharing my little book with friends and family was stupendous. The moment any author is handed their first book is overwhelming emotional. It is the closest an adult comes to childish delight. The reality that your words are now published, that many people will read it and your words will outlive you delighting generations to come is a heady feeling.

After your book is published your work is not done. Promotion becomes your master. Be creative and say ‘Yes’ to any and all opportunities that come your way. The more your book is noticed the more sales.

Mandy and Rumble at SC Summerwood

To promote Rumble I created a soft toy of Rumble, which was so much fun. Once I showed my writing group they all announced I should make miniatures for each book, I declined!  Rumble accompanies me to readings and events and is always popular. As I had a good deal of promotion to manage without sewing into the wee hours, I did commissioned Rumble hats, and ordered T-shirts, which are a lot easier to handle.

Bio:

Mandy@

Always creative, I came to writing later in life. A chance visit to a writing group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, propelled me into the written word in a way I could never have imagined. I delve into all genres expanding my writing muscles and with several books published; I am certainly making up for ‘lost’ time. As a free flow writer, my stories lead me rather than the other way round, delighting me with plot twists and turns. Writing is my passion, the source of new found fellowship and most of all fun.

shelf

Contact:

I can be reached through my blog at www.mandyevebarnett.com, on my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Mandyevebarnettcom/ and through Twitter @mandyevebarnett

Annual Colouring Contest:

I arrange an annual colouring competition prior to Halloween for Rumble fans. The picture is in .pdf format and downloaded from my publisher’s website – http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca. Once all entries are in I choose the winners. Prizes include Rumble hats, T-shirts, monster orientated toys and games.

My newest book will be launched this fall – Clickety Click   is a YA monster story. Why do I have a propensity for monsters, I have no idea!

Click crop cover

 

Lost Words – Describing My Easter Mountain Escape…


Jasper Mountains_n

Jasper National Park

apanthropinization                      1880 -1880
withdrawal from human concerns or the human world
His life as a hermit in the woods was characterized by apanthropinization.

desarcinate                                     1656 -1736
to unload; to unburden
She haughtily ordered her butler to desarcinate her baggage from the car.

locupletative                                 1802 -1812
tending to enrich
Your locupletative contributions have helped furnish the new stadium lavishly.

montivagant                                1656 -1658
wandering over hills and mountains
The montivagant hiker crossed the Alps with ease but was stymied by the Andes.

patration                                       1656 -1656
perfection or completion of something
The patration of my dissertation will be an occasion for great merriment.

stagma                                            1681 -1820
any distilled liquor
I will touch neither wine nor stagma, though I do occasionally partake of ale.

More lost words here:
http://phrontistery.info/clw.html

My good friend Linda and I escaped to the mountains for a long weekend over Easter. These words describe our experience to some extent.

We relished the apanthropinization from daily stresses to the Rocky Mountains. The glorious scenery, good company and a splash of stagma enabled us to desarcinate our troubles for a brief respite. Our montivagant and immersion into nature really locupletative our souls. In addition we were able to patration writing projects too. A recharging for our souls and sustenance for our mind and body.

Mediation Circle, Grande Cache

Meditation Circle_n

Chinese Communes…


chinese 2

 

Our idea of communes favors more hippy movement than governmental control, however, that is exactly what happened under the Chinese leader, Mao Zedong’s administration from 1958 to 1983. The People’s commune model was part of the Great Leap Forward, which demanded the mobilization of peasants in huge water projects during the winter slack seasons and thus improving agricultural production. These communes had political, governmental and economic functions and were divided into production teams and brigades.

Made up of a combination of smaller farm collectives, these communes consisted of 4,000 – 5,000 households and in some cases were as large as 20,000 households. Within the communes everything was shared – private cooking was banned and all kitchen furniture, pots, pans, and utensils were contributed to the main communal kitchen for communal dining. The peasants had no private property.

Assignments of household items, private animals, stored grains and other food items were made available for the commune as a whole. Every morning all farming activities were assigned centrally by cadres and commune leaders assigned each member of the commune with a job or task. In some places, money was outlawed. Even when bad weather hit the communal lands in 1958, 1959 and 1960 and famine became widespread the food resources were still being exported to urban areas.

Decades of governmental turmoil had these communes reconstructed, severely oppressed and eventually disbanded.

chinese 1

A Modern Commune…


Lammas – A Pioneering Ecovillage in West Wales

During my research into communes for this year’s blog post project, I have learnt a great deal about the variations of communes, their history and the future prospects of communal living. I was particularly interested in this commune for two reasons, firstly because part of my childhood was spent in Pembrokeshire and secondly because I find the idea of cooperation and sustainability intriguing.

As you will see from the link, there is a lot more to this commune than the old ‘hippy love’ expectation. Not only organic produce but natural crafts, workshops and more. Lammas is a modern example of an old concept and is successful.

http://lammas.org.uk/

house 1

house 2

inside house

Courses

Interview with Claire Luana…


Headshot Claire
What inspired you to write your first book?
My husband and I were on our honeymoon and talking a lot about life. He asked me what I would do if I could do anything. I realized the answer was to write a novel. So I figured I should just go ahead and do it!

Tell us about your book!
In the country of Kita, the sentence for being a female sorceress—a moonburner—is death. So when the main character, Kai, is exposed as a moonburner, she is forced to escape to neighboring Miina, where moonburners are revered and trained as warriors. But the moonburner citadel is not the place of refuge and learning that Kai imagined. The ongoing war against the male sorcerers, or sunburners, has led the citadel leadership down a dark path that could spell the end of all burners. After uncovering an unexpected secret in her own heritage, Kai realizes that she may be the one person able to bring peace to the two warring countries.

How did you come up with the title?
I worked for several months outlining a trilogy of novels. But every time I started writing, I got stuck. I had another idea hanging around in the back of my mind and I decided to give into it. Within about 10 minutes I had a one-page outline of the plot and the title for Moonburner, my first novel. I think it’s really true what they say about the muse striking you!

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
Quitsu! My protagonist, Kai, has an animal companion, a magical talking fox named Quitsu. He was definitely the comic relief, and I had a lot of fun writing his snarky comments.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That the world isn’t black or white, but shades of grey. All the “good guys” aren’t good in the book, and all the “bad guys” aren’t bad. If Kai gave in to stereotypes and prejudices, she would have missed out on some of her greatest friends and allies. You have to gauge each person individually based on their character and actions, not because they belong in a particular gender, race, or political group.

What makes Moonburner different?
I think Moonburner is unique because the moral of the story isn’t good triumphing over evil. It’s about mutually assured destruction…if you can’t find a way to work together and coexist, you will both perish.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
I love the creativity of it. I’m a practicing lawyer for my full time job, and so I spend a lot of time being analytical and precise. I love the freedom to let my mind take me where it takes me with writing. I thought because I am such a type–A planner that I would be a “plotter,” making detailed outlines of every part of my book before I wrote a word. I found that in fact, I do much better when I let my creativity take the wheel. That has been a very refreshing discovery.

What is your favorite theme/genre to write?
I have always loved to read and write fantasy. There is something about being taken away to another magical world that provides just the right escape I am looking for with a novel. My goal with Moonburner was to write a novel that I would enjoy reading.

What is the current status of Moonburner?
I am seeking a publisher for Moonburner currently, so you can’t read it quite yet! But it will either be picked up for publication or I will self-publish in 2016. I am also about 90% done with the first draft of Sunburner, the sequel.
How do we find your books, blog and bio?
Come see me at claireluana.com. That’s where you’ll find my blog, as well as updates about Moonburner and Sunburner.

Twitter @clairedeluana